This article was written by Airrosti’s Laurie Buob, DC.
The human body is a sensitive and fragile thing. Prolonged stress or awkward positioning can unfortunately lead to pains and aches in several areas, such as the neck. There are a few common habits that can cause neck pain, such as poor posture and muscular weakness.
Luckily, if you are suffering from neck pain, there are a few exercises you can add into your daily routine that can help combat those aches. Continue reading to find out the causes of neck pain and exercises Airrosti providers recommend for managing this issue!
If left unchecked, poor posture may result in more permanent changes to the structure and shape of your neck. Postural stress occurs when we are sitting for long periods of time, lying or sleeping with our heads at an awkward angle, or working in unnatural positions that put pressure on our muscles and joints.
Working at a desk or being in a slouched or hunched position is one of the most common causes of neck pain. Additionally, sedentary habits such as gaming, watching television, or looking at your phone could lead to pain. Fortunately, neck pain can be easily avoided by ensuring your desk, chair, or monitors are the correct height. Try setting your chair so your feet are flat on the floor and adjust your desk so that your elbows sit at a 90-degree angle. This can help avoid unwanted tension in your shoulders. Lastly, place your monitor at eye level, so you are not looking down and adding stress to your neck or spine. In addition to adjusting your physical work setting, you can work to correct your posture by performing a few stretches.
When we sit with our heads forward for too long, it causes our neck and shoulder muscles to overcompensate to keep our heads upright. This is when we notice neck stiffness and the onset of pain. Additionally, you may experience muscle spasms, pinched nerves, a disc bulge and/or herniation, and even spinal degeneration.
In time, your shoulder and neck muscles can become strained and overworked. You may even develop conditions, such as Upper Cross Syndrome, also known as UCS. With UCS, individuals may find their muscles severely imbalanced, leading to rounded shoulders and a curve to the neck and upper back that could lead to chronic back, neck, and shoulder pain. Prolonged muscular weakness can lead to movements and activities being hindered, and a drastically reduced range of motion.
How To Fix Your Posture
While poor posture and muscular imbalances are not the only culprits of neck pain, they are common and can be easily corrected. Try these posture-correction exercises to manage prolonged sitting and prevent pain.
***Disclaimer: Always consult with your doctor before starting any exercise program. If you experience any numbness, tingling or reproduction of your symptoms, please contact your doctor.
Posture Correction Exercise
- Stand with your back against the wall, feet hip-width apart and about a foot away from the wall, knees slightly bent.
- Start by drawing your shoulders back against the wall, opening your back up through the front of the shoulders.
- Roll your pelvis forward or back so that there is a slight arch in the lower back. Control any excessive arch by engaging your lower core.
- To position your head, nod your chin slightly to bring the neck back to neutral, the plane of the face parallel to the wall.
- Hold this position for 5 seconds.
- Relax and complete 2 sets of 5 repetitions.
- Beginning with your gaze straight and level, poke your chin out and then bring it back to your starting position.
- Make sure not to tuck or lift your chin in the outward extension.
- Complete 3 sets of 10 repetitions.
Correcting your posture takes time, but these tips will help you stay upright and strengthen weakened muscle groups. If you’re still struggling with neck pain after trying these exercises, Airrosti is here to help. Schedule your appointment today and let our Airrosti Certified Providers help you get one step closer to conquering neck pain.
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